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With: Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones, Shirley Henderson, Celia Imrie, James Faulkner, Charmain May, Paul Brooke, Felicity Montagu, Sally Phillips, James Callis, Gareth Marks, Embeth Davidtz, Patrick Barlow, Honor Blackman, Dominic McHale, Joan Blackham, Lisa Barbuscia, Neil Pearson, Claire Skinner, Dolly Wells, Mark Lingwood, Toby Whithouse, Lisa Kay, Sulayman Al-Bassam, Donald Douglas, Renu Setna, Emma Amos, Sara Stockbridge, Salman Rushdie
Written by: Richard Curtis, Andrew Davies, Helen Fielding, based on the novel by Helen Fielding
Directed by: Sharon Maguire
MPAA Rating: R for language and some strong sexuality
Running Time: 98
Date: 04/04/2001

Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

London Bridget

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Even if last year's amazing Nurse Betty left us with the slightest doubt that Renee Zellweger could act, Bridget Jones's Diary erases that doubt for good. She stars as the title hero from Helen Fielding's popular novel, a slightly overweight thirtysomething who smokes too much. Like all of us, Bridget searches for love and finds herself attracted to the wrong men, particularly her boss (Hugh Grant), a charming creep who knows just what to say and when to say it. On the other hand is the bland Colin Firth who first appears with a godawful reindeer sweater at a New Year's party. As adapted by Fielding, Richard Curtis (of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill fame), and Andrew Davies, the film buzzes with sharp dialogue and rich characters. It's streamlined and doesn't get stuck in the usual novel-to-film mire. And that Zellweger! She puts on weight and such a great snappy English accent that, after you pull your jaw off the floor in the first five minutes, you'll forget that she's even acting. Director Sharon Maguire throws in a couple of overcooked slapstick scenes for the I.Q.-challenged, but Bridget Jones's Diary is an ripping success.

DVD Details: Miramax re-released this film in a new "Collector's Edition" DVD in the fall of 2004 to help hype the sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, which I haven't seen and which looks perfectly dreadful. Nevertheless, I watched the original again and found it charming, as well as quite a bit more overcooked. I doubt it holds up to more than two viewings. The new DVD comes with new extras: "The Bridget Phenomenon," "The Young and the Mateless," "Portrait of the Makeup Artist," TV spots, a trailer for the sequel and a guide to Bridget's "Britishisms." Other extras include a commentary track with director Sharon Maguire, a making-of featurette, deleted scenes, and over 100 original "Bridget Jones" columns.

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